Practical Help, Part 5 – my Fridays

Friday…TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday). I tend to look forward to Fridays. Weird? …maybe a little.

Fridays are days to get to things I haven’t been able to get to in the normal week. You can find what I do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday by clicking on each day.

I usually keep a running “To Do” list on my desk. If you came in my office, you would see a legal pad filled top to bottom (most days) with a “To Do” list. That list is formulated primarily on Mondays, but sometimes on Fridays too. It is modified every day: as things get accomplished, they get marked off; as new ideas arise, new items are added to the list. It is a hugely beneficial tool for me to keep ahead of the game. I tend to be one of those people – and I say it all the time – “If I don’t write it down, expect me to forget it.” I have to write everything down. Funny thing is, when I write some stuff, I never have to look at it again…just writing it down helps me remember it.

Anyway, Fridays are days to try and clean up my “To Do” list.

One of my other major duties on Friday is our church website. When I came on staff, I wound up being the most computer literate of everyone here…barely. And when I say that, I’m not talking like an I.T. guy kind of literate. I just happen to know just a little bit more than others here. That, coupled with my meager graphic design abilities (see my work here), I became the all-important “Web Master”…sounds like a super hero. Not really, just the keeper upper of the church’s website. I try to help other ministries use their portion of the site to its utmost. I try to keep the home page clean and up to date. I try to keep random old pictures from hogging all the bandwidth or the server space. Anyway, I usually try to spend at least a couple of hours on the website. Sometimes more is required depending on the graphic needs. And, honestly, our website is capable of infinitely more…but that would require my full-time attention…but I’m just the music minister and can’t warrant more time.

Another thing a lot of my Friday is devoted to is practice. God has given me a lot of musical abilities on a plethora of instruments. Those don’t just happen, they are cultivated. That process of cultivation…well, that mean practice. Last week, we did a new song in our service called Isaiah 6 by Todd Agnew. When the speaker told me of his sermon topic and a little about where he was headed with it, I immediately thought of this song and knew it had to be in the worship service. Because of the lateness of adding this to the service (sr. pastors – this is why we music ministers need more notice on sermon topics and ideas…we’ve got to practice this stuff), I had to spend about 3 or 4 hours in practice of this song (plus another one or two in the service I needed to work on). I also came back to the church on Saturday and worked for another 3 hours or so on this music. So…music ministers, don’t forget to hone your skills. Psalm 33:3 implores us to “Play Skillfully…” Don’t settle for average…work at your skill and make it better. Even if it’s only 30 minutes a week, use that time to get better at it…even if you’re just a vocalist…practice, practice, practice.

Side note: please don’t fall into the “practice-makes-perfect” trap. A former church of mine, would practice for Sunday worship times for hours and hours and hours to make it sound exactly like a CD. A perfectly performed worship set is nothing compared to a heart of worship. After David said “Create in me a clean heart” in Psalm 51, he said, “God, I can offer you sacrifices; I can offer you burnt offerings, and you would not receive them. But the offering you will receive is a broken heart and a contrite (humble, sorrowful) spirit.” Is that what you bring in worship?

Another thing I do on Fridays…and did today…I try to catch up on some reading. Today, I read several articles in WorshipLeader Magazine (Nov/Dec 2008). I was honestly quite humbled and challenged and have reconsidered many things I do as a worship leader. In this particular magazine they also review new worship songs, Christian CDs, books (fiction and non-fiction), movies, and – most helpful – tech gear (mics, preamps, lighting, sound boards, instruments, etc.) Those peer reviews are tremendously helpful in any thoughts about any purchase of the sort.

So, Fridays are great days for me. I feel like at the end of an average Friday, I’m able to say, “I accomplished everything I set out to do this week.” That is a refreshing feeling. It also helps when I arrive on Sunday to be clear-minded for worship and worship leadership.

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